; Method And Apparatus For On-line Monitoring Of Quality And/or Condition Of Highly Resistive Fluids - Patent 6577112
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Method And Apparatus For On-line Monitoring Of Quality And/or Condition Of Highly Resistive Fluids - Patent 6577112

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The present invention relates to the art of fluid monitoring and analysis. The invention finds application in conjunction with on-line (i.e., while in use) monitoring of highly electrically resistive fluids such as, e.g., lubricants, naturaland/or synthetic motor oils, standard additives and/or adjuncts, combustion engine fuels, other hydrocarbon-based fluids used in transportation and industrial applications, and the like, and will be described with particular reference thereto. Morespecifically, the present invention relates to a method and apparatus for on-line analysis of a highly electrically resistive fluid's quality and/or condition using a fluid's electrical response, or change in a fluid's electrical response to an appliedAC signal to determine, e.g., the amount or depletion of performance additives, contamination with unwanted liquids or solids, general degradation of the fluid due to chemical breakdown, or other changes in the fluid's condition or quality. However, thepresent invention is also amenable to other like applications.It is understood as used herein, a highly electrically resistive fluid refers to a fluid that has bulk resistivity at 20.degree. C. greater than about 10.sup.3 ohm-m, preferably greater than about 10.sup.5 ohm-m and more preferably greater thanabout 10.sup.6 ohm-m.It is understood as used herein, "AC" is used to refer to a voltage, that is, an electrical potential, that has a non-zero frequency; "DC voltage offset" or "DC offset" is used to refer to the time average value of an "AC voltage"; and "ACsignal" is used to refer to a combination of AC voltages with DC offsets.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTIONHighly electrically resistive fluids are a critical component for the proper operation of many devices and/or processes. For example: lubricants are needed for an internal combustion engine to efficiently provide power over a long service life;high quality fuel is needed for proper engine operation with minimal emissions; and metal w

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